Hanna Rosen is the host of this interesting podcast about punk rockers in Richmond, Virginia. Emily Nixon is a young woman who was a member of a group called I.C.E. Motherfuckers. Do they sound tough or what?
Emily Nixon: “All that mattered was hanging out and making music and making mischief”.
Emily Nixon: “You always feared for your life at the shows but that was part of the fun”.
Emily Nixon was the front man for the band I.C.E. Motherfuckers– if I have that right. (Yes, I said “man”. Punks don’t care.) Emily Nixon is the subject of the podcast (above) that allegedly addresses issues of “calling out” people for sexual misbehavior. No other misbehaviors need apply–as we shall see– just anything sexual. Anything, you know, “dirty”. Because then we can all be automatically outraged, horrified, and extremely, extremely upset.
Emily was proud of having assaulted an audience member at a gig. Apparently, he chose to dance in the mosh pit during one of her songs about liberation and equality and empowerment. She jumped off the stage and punched him hard. That is assault.
We do not get called out for assault. Nothing wrong with the assault.
Emily Nixon said “You always feared for your life at the shows but that was part of the fun”. What a ballsy chick! Then she recounted how she made out in her bedroom one night with someone from another band and then, mid-make-out, changed her mind and told him to stop because his bandmates were in the next room. And he did stop, but then he locked the door so his bandmates wouldn’t walk in on them making out, and that creeped her out and then they slept in the same bed together but in the morning he touched her suggestively but stopped when she didn’t respond. She froze. She didn’t know what to do. She froze. He stopped probably because there was no response.
No mischief there. No punches. Not much of that punk attitude either.
She was fearless at her shows in which she feared for her life, but was so terrified of the hand on her ass that she could not even croak a single word like “no” or “fuck off”. So she froze, and he stopped. So, he needed to be called out. Yessiree. But “the feeling” was that “there was a sense” that if she did call him out, he would be “protected”. You know– white male privilege, I guess. So– unlike the guy she destroyed soon afterwards who mysteriously was not defended– she didn’t try to get this guy ostracized, castrated, or evicted. She didn’t even punch him.
But then we have the second guy. I have no idea why she didn’t “have a sense” about the second guy.
Which is too bad because a guy who puts his hand on your ass while he is bed with you in the morning should really at least lose his job. Or get punched. At the very least, I think that if I were Emily Nixon, I would at least ask him to go find his own bed.
There was another guy. Her best friend in the world. A real friend. And he was in another band. And then she found out that he did something really, genuinely, viciously awful– far worse than putting a hand on her ass in her bed in the morning: this guy sent a picture of himself naked to a girl unsolicited. Oh my gawd. Even a girl who is used to fearing for her life at her own concerts was just overwhelmed with the gravity of this horror. Oh my gawd! He had to be stopped. But wait– we’ve been best friends for, like, forever. Oh my gawd! Out he goes. She “outed him” on social media.
I like the word “outed” here. It conveys– erroneously, in my opinion– the idea that men hitting on women is something they are all trying to keep secret and that only brave, courageous, gutsy women who risk their lives at punk concerts will have the nerve to expose them. So they are revealed, exposed, displayed, excoriated. So she did.
But it also suggests that a lot of women are secretly obsessed with the idea that all the men around them are secret plotting all kinds of devilishness and should be exposed whenever possible. Because that is how women get power over men: by shaming them. That is what some women said about Louis C. K. He wasn’t ashamed enough. He needed more correction.
He was kicked out of his band.
Seriously? A punk band expelled a member for misbehavior? For violating social norms? For being inappropriate?
And he was kicked out of the clubs.
He disappeared somewhere– she heard that he “wasn’t doing that good”. I wonder if, at that point, Emily was more than a little intoxicated with her newfound power. Was it as exciting as punching the man in the mosh pit?
Satisfaction! I am impressed with Emily’s ruthlessness and cruelty here. No sense being coy about it– I see this as just an amazing expression of sheer sadistic cruelty. If you think it’s something else or think it should be called something else, I’m calling you out: it’s cruelty and you should own it. It’s mean. It’s brutal. It’s a little psychotic. It is psychotic, by my definition, which is the capacity to inflict enormous pain without empathy for your victim. Psychokiller, as the Talking Heads used to say.
You really owe it to yourself at this point to watch the documentary “Dig!”, about Anton Newcombe and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Just to give you an idea of how punk musicians ought to behave.
She admits– with enthusiasm– that this is “vigilante justice”. “It felt so good… that’s what he deserved”. I am the instrument of God’s almighty wrath!
“I’m not okay with it”, she said. That phrase is now a kind of mantra for the new Puritans. There are things I am not okay with too, but I haven’t been able to start a movement yet against people who attend leadership training seminars and love Disney.
Then we have Hanna’s impenetrable snark: Emily did the courageous thing even though it cost her. I was not able to determine what it “cost” her other than the risk of “the feeling” that someone might disapprove of disproportionate consequences for mildly rude behavior. You know how things are.
Then along came Herbert.
It’s hard to discern Herbert’s motivations here. Maybe he thought she was a tad self-righteous. I hoped that he might have been motivated by a desire for justice after the disproportionate punishment meted out to the guy she “outed” but it was more vicious than that. Herbert knew Emily. Herbert knew that Emily, in high school, had added a nasty emoji to a nude picture of an acquaintance that someone had posted on social media. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Apparently, she did other nasty things. She saw a girl having sex with someone at a party and slut-shamed her at school. Herbert revealed all this on social media and implored Emily’s friends to shun and ostracize her and implored her band– I.C.E. Motherfuckers– I’m not making this up— to expel her.
They all said, hey, a lot of us were creeps and mean and rude in high school, and made mistakes, and if she apologizes, we’ll all just move on and hope that we have learned to be better people.
Of course not. They all did what Herbert implored them to do. Emily Nixon was suddenly persona non grata. Her friends shunned her. Clubs banned her. Her band fired her. They even issued formal instructions on how she was be punished. This is a the punk community in Richmond, Virginia. We are so rebellious. We are so rogue. We are so uncompromising. We are so virtuous. We are pure. We are the wrath of God and you shall pay for your transgressions!
Hanna interviewed “Jay”, the girl in the nude picture. She was much kinder than anyone else in the podcast. She accepted Emily’s apologies as genuine. How nice. Let’s get back to the guy who texted the nude picture and ask him to apologize. No? You want him to rot in hell? Well, she didn’t say it, but if you broadcast Jay’s generous gesture you really need to address the issue of why Emily gets this consideration but nobody else.
We also, by the way, have a clue as to Emily’s character and psychosis in that “slut-shaming” of someone in her high school who had sex with a boy. Seriously, Emily? You were disgusted that she had sex with someone? You assumed everyone else would be disgusted too? You thought it would make you cool? What kind of person thinks like that?
Herbert was not forgiving. He openly declared that he didn’t care if Emily lived or died. She deserved it. Then, perhaps with some misgivings about coming off as too vindictive, he related how he had been abused as a child by his father. He actually got tearful. I thought, you have got to be kidding. No. He cried. But he now has a great relationship with his parents because, well, it got better. So, apparently he gave his father a chance to apologize and make it up to him. Very nice. Very kind. Very reasonable.
Emily, on the abuse she then suffered: “It just wouldn’t stop”. Oh, that was touching. It just wouldn’t stop.
She is referring to the relentless attacks she suffered on social media. She retreated to her job and her apartment and her boyfriend, a shell of her former self. “I’m not allowed to come to shows anymore. I’m not allowed to make music anymore. This was my entire life since I was 13.”
Hanna sly implies something about Emily’s horrible behavior that she never offers to any of the males in the story: that it is forgivable. That she deserved the chance to make it right, to apologize.” I suspect Hanna would have felt quite comfortable with the CBC panel that announced that, in the #metoo movement, there was never “collateral damage”. All men are guilty. All women are telling the truth. She tries to cover her tracks but her selectivity is telling: Jay thinks Emily’s remorse is genuine.
Hanna calls the abusers “brutal or cruel”. Communities have always punished severely those who violate the rules in order to “enforce the moral code” and “keep the community safe”. She said, “maybe we’ve not given pain enough credit for all the ways its helped us”. “The community decides”… no law or police or judges. No proof required. Hanna declares that inflicting pain on others is not only acceptable– it’s great! There is “no other way… it’s just what humans do.”
This has crossed over into hysteria. It has the hallmarks of hysteria. It is taking on the characteristics of an irrational, extreme reaction out of proportion to the real weight of action that precipitates the reaction.
Then Hanna Rosen has the chutzpah to complain that Herbert didn’t care about Emily at all– excuse me? I didn’t hear that violin playing when you described how Emily crucified her best friend.
Hanna idiotically concludes that this shows pain is good. It moves you forward.
Pretty well everyone in this podcast, including the host, with the exception of “J”, is appalling.